Sunset Park, and New York City overall, is a community of immigrants; in NYC, approximately 560,000 immigrants are undocumented and 1 million New Yorkers live in mixed-status families. The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us one way or another. However, our undocumented population has been hit the hardest; not only do they experience a significant number of existing disparities due to exclusions from many government programs, current COVID-19 responses from our federal government have failed to include them. Here at AMPHS, we are dedicated to serving our immigrant communities. We have created a Virtual Community Health Center to continue to share resources with you. You can also see our weekly updates here. Here are some resources to help our undocumented families during these difficult times.
I don’t qualify for the checks being provided under the Stimulus Package. Is there any financial assistance available to me that I can qualify for?
Yes! Here are a few resources available to you:
- Movimiento Cosecha is raising money for an Undocumented Worker Fund. Undocumented immigrants are eligible to apply once per household to receive up to $300 from the fund, and Movimiento Cosecha will be distributing funds until they run out. You may apply here if you are an undocumented immigrant in need of financial assistance.
- Mixteca has created an Emergency Fund to help alleviate some of the economic stress that immigrant families are experiencing during this pandemic. Priority will be given to undocumented community members that cannot work, have lost their job partially or entirely due to coronavirus and cannot access federal funds. To access the application, click here. You can also call 646-470-5068 or 929-322-0605 to fill out the application by phone.
- The Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation is raising funds to support undocumented families and individuals during these times of crisis. The amount that they can provide each person is based on the donations they receive and the amount of requests they receive. Click here to fill out the request form. You can also call (360) 524-3664 and a representative will help you apply in English and Spanish.
- Humanity Forward is delivering one-time, and recurring, basic income payments to individuals and families who stand to be most impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The initial target populations will primarily consist of Americans in lower income brackets who depend on wage work to support them and their families. Their first program will be launched in the Bronx, NY, and they aim to roll out similar initiatives in the coming weeks. Click here for the application.
- The Lambda Theta Alpha Foundation Disaster Relief Fund will provide relief to those affected by a natural disaster. For details and application click here.
- AMPHS is using the feedback we hear from you to develop more ways to support families and supplement the assistance already in place. More information to come.
For Restaurant Workers:
- Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation established a COVID19 Crisis Relief Fund. Individuals seeking RWCF’s direct assistance should go to the Southern Smoke Application Form to submit their information and needs. Please note that Southern Smoke will evaluate each case based on the state of an applicant’s emergency, prioritizing issues like medical needs.
- One Fair Wage Emergency Fund is providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more. You can access their application here.
- Undocu Workers Fund is a grassroots effort to provide monetary, immediate relief to individuals/families of undocumeted workers in the hospitality industry in mini-grants of $200. The application is currently on pause but will reopen. For updates click here.
- Scholly COVID-19 Student Relief Fund provides $200 in cash assistance to help buy groceries, health supplies, and other necessities to those in need. If you’re a student, parent of a student, or graduate, apply today.
- Last week, CUNY announced the launch of a Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Fund to help students facing financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis. It will distribute grants of $500 each to thousands of CUNY students who are coping with the severe economic fallout of the extraordinary public health emergency through a lottery process.
- At Baruch College: The Immigrant Student Emergency Fund helps students with various immigration needs stemming from immigration status and/or undocumented status, and improve their quality of life following a financial emergency. Click here for more details.
- At John Jay College: To qualify for emergency funding, review the different funding options here and submit the application. If you have questions, you can email email@example.com.
- At Brooklyn College: The Carroll and Milton Petrie Student Emergency Grant Fund provides eligible students facing short-term, nonrecurring emergencies with a one-time grant to alleviate their situation. For more information click here
What food assistance programs am I eligible for?
- SNAP: Under the Families First Act, states are allowed to provide emergency supplemental SNAP benefits up to the maximum monthly benefit amount to many participating SNAP households to address temporary food needs. Only US citizens and certain non-citizens are eligible for SNAP, such as asylees, refugees, and some green card holders. Individuals who are not eligible for SNAP can apply for their eligible household members, such as U.S. citizen children.
- School Meals: The Family First Act establishes a new program – called Pandemic EBT or “P-EBT” – that allows states to provide meal-replacement benefits for households with children who attend a school that has closed and who would otherwise receive free or reduced-price meals. Monthly benefits of up to $125 per child will be loaded onto an EBT card. P-EBT is available regardless of immigration status. Households do not have to be enrolled in SNAP in order to be eligible.
- The New York City Department of Education makes three free meals available daily for any New Yorker, Monday through Friday (from 7:30 – 11:30 AM for families and children, and 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM for adults) at more than 400 meal hubs across NYC. To find a location, use the website lookup tool at schools.nyc.gov/freemeals or text “NYCFOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877.
- If you can’t leave your home and you don’t have anybody to bring food to you, your city can help deliver meals to you. Visit: NYC Get Food – COVID-19 Food Assistance Resources.
- Invisible Hands is a group of engaged volunteers from communities at the least risk for severe COVID-19 reactions working to bring groceries and supplies to those in high-risk demographics. To request a delivery click here.
- Food Bank NYC is an organization that provides many options for food distribution. You can use their interactive map to find a food distribution center near you.
- HungerFree NYC publishes “Neighborhood Guides to Food and Assistance”. These guides cover all neighborhoods in NYC by zip code and are available in multiple languages.
- NYU Langone’s Family Support Center (6025 6th Avenue) is now offering an emergency food pantry every Friday from 10AM-2PM, by appointment only. You must call them at (718) 630-7186. No proof of address is required
Will there be a cost for COVID-19 testing if I am undocumented?
No, everyone who receives a COVID-19 test will not be charged for the test, regardless of immigration status. Additionally, the State Department of Health announced the inclusion of COVID-19 testing, evaluation, and treatment covered by Emergency Medicaid for low-income individuals (less than or equal to 138% federal poverty level) who are ineligible for Medicaid.
Will testing and treatment for COVID-19 be considered under Public Charge?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently posted an alert clarifying that it will not consider testing, treatment, or preventive care (including vaccines if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19 in a public charge inadmissibility determination, even if the health care services are covered by Medicaid.
If I have a question about my symptoms, what should I do?
New Yorkers who believe they have symptoms for coronavirus or have questions about COVID-19, can call 1-844-NYC-4NYC. You will be connected to a medical provider from the Health+Hospitals system. If you are sick, stay home. If you don’t feel better after three or four day, consult with your health care provider. If you need help getting connected to a healthcare provider, call 311. You can receive medical attention despite your immigration status or ability to pay.
Have there been any changes to…
- The immigration courts during this COVID-19 pandemic?
The New York on Pause Executive Order leaves legal services off the list of “essential” businesses; functions that are taking place in the courthouse are now limited. The types of cases that some court systems are taking are limited only to essential proceedings. You can see a list of essential cases here.
Until April 16, 2020:
- NYC non-detained Immigration Courts (Broadway and Federal Plaza) are CLOSED until further notice.
- Buffalo non-detained hearings are cancelled
- Courts at Varick Street and Elizabeth, NJ are closed until further notice.
- ALL immigration court hearings in NY for people who are NOT detained are canceled. People with canceled hearings should receive a new hearing notice in the mail, but should also be in contact with their attorney and/or check 1-800-898-7180 to make sure they receive prompt information about the new date.
- USCIS appointments during this COVID-19 pandemic?
As of March 18th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended routine in-person services through at least May 3 to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS staff will continue to perform mission critical duties that do not involve contact with the public. However, USCIS will provide emergency services for limited situations. To schedule an emergency appointment, contact the USCIS Contact Center.
- ICE activity during this COVID-19 pandemic?
- Contact your local office to find out if you need to appear for a check-in.
- ICE has cancelled all visitation for those in ICE detention.
- Immigration enforcement in communities will continue.
- Federal Court during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Citizenship Oath Ceremonies are cancelled.
Who is available to provide me legal assistance during this COVID-19 pandemic?
- ActionNYC is for every immigrant New Yorker. It offers free, safe immigration legal help in a network of trusted community organizations and schools. You must make an appointment to receive services. To make an appointment, call 1-800-354-0365 between 9AM-6PM, Monday – Friday or call 311 and say “ActionNYC”.
- The Immigrant Defense Program offers criminal-immigration advice and support to immigrants and their loved ones. This resource is especially useful for people or families facing detention and/or deportation. You can reach their helpline at 212-725-6422 Tuesday and Thursday between 2PM-4:30PM. For more information, you may visit their page
- Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) offers virtual and telephone assistance related to family justice, such as divorce, custody, paternity and domestic violence. Call 212-343-1122, Monday through Friday between 9AM-5PM.
- The Legal Aid Society continues its services remotely for clients in need of assistance. You can call their main number 212-577-3300. Indicate you need Legal Assistance and your call will be forwarded to an Operator. You can visit their page for additional info
- The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault provides free counseling or advocacy. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 212-514-SAFE (7233).
- Family Justice Centers (FJC) provide guidance on immediate safety planning, shelter assistance, and community resources, including FJC updates. Although their centers are closed for in-person visits, you can call the closest FJC near you Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM at the following numbers :
- NYC Family Justice Center, Bronx: 718-508-1220
- NYC Family Justice Center, Brooklyn: 718-250-5113
- NYC Family Justice Center, Manhattan: 212-602-2800
- NYC Family Justice Center, Queens:718-575-4545
- NYC Family Justice Center, Staten Island: 718-697-4300